Chinese Shoppers Go Crazy for Apples Kissed by Flight Attendants

An insane new trend in China has online stores selling apples kissed by air hostesses at jacked-up prices. The ads for these apples show photographs of women dressed like stewardesses – thought to be trainees at Sichuan Southwest Vocational College of Civil Aviation – holding up the apples against their red lips. Some listings even have videos of the women actually kissing the apples.

The marketing strategy is obviously targeted at men, with lines like “take home the kisses of an air hostess.” Some sellers claim their apples have been kissed by as many as 500 stewardesses. Others are offering custom orders, based on buyers’ preferences. The apples are priced between 9.9yuan and 129.9yan ($1.53 to $20) per fruit, depending on the variety, while some shops are putting together ‘kiss hampers’ with apples and Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

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These “Walking Trees” in Ecuador Can Allegedly Move Up to 20 Meters per Year

The Socratea exorrhiza is perhaps the world’s only mobile tree. They say its complicated system of roots also serves as legs, helping the tree constantly move towards sunlight as the seasons change. Walking trees can apparently move up to 2-3 cm per day, or 20 meters per year. That may not sound like much, but it’s pretty much a marathon by tree-standards.

Rainforest guides in Latin American countries like Ecuador have been telling tourists about the amazing walking trees for decades now. The most common version of the story is that the tree slowly ‘walks’ in search of the sun by growing new roots towards the light and allowing its old roots to die. The unusual roots, split from the trunk a few feet above the ground, add to the illusion of the tree having legs.

“As the soil erodes, the tree grows new, long roots that find new and more solid ground, sometimes up to 20m,” explained Peter Vrsansky, a palaeobiologist from the Slovak Academy of Sciences who lived for a few months in the Unesco Sumaco Biosphere Reserve, about a day’s journey from Ecuador’s capital Quito.

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Justin Bieber Fan Legally Takes His Name, Sleeps with a Cardboard Cutout of the Singer

Gabrielle Newton-Bieber is possibly the world’s biggest Justin Bieber fan – she has five Bieber-tattoos, a wardrobe filled with Bieber clothes, and all of his records and merchandise. She also likes to pretend that she’s married to the Canadian singer so she has legally taken his last name and sleeps with a life-size Bieber cardboard cutout.

“I always call Justin my husband when I talk to people,” the 22-year-old supermarket worker said. “I say ‘I’ve got to go, my husband is just on the TV. They find it a bit weird because we’re not really married – if only we were. Just maybe, one day.”

Gabrielle has been obsessed with Justin Bieber since the very beginning, when his debut single ‘One Time’ released in 2009. “Justin released his first single ‘One Time’ when I was aged 16 and straight away I was obsessed,” the young woman said. “He was so cute with his floppy hair and riding his skateboard. I fell for him instantly. He makes us all so happy – Justin Bieber is my world.”

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Welcome to Santa University – Where Professional Santas Go to Hone Their Skills

Believe it or not, being a professional Santa is hard work. It’s not just about putting on a red suit and a fake beard and doing the best ‘ho-ho-ho’ you can muster. Some Santas actually take their job very seriously, so much so that they go to a university to sharpen their skills.

Yes, Santa University is a real thing. It’s a four-day training program that takes place every summer at ‘Noerr Pole’, the corporate office of Noerr Programs in Colorado. The company is a digital event imaging provider that recruits and trains its own 70-member Santa Claus team. “We cover every single aspect you can think of when it comes to being the consummate Santa,” said Ruth Rosenquist, public relations director at Noerr.

So prospective Santas are taught how to pose for pictures, how to deal with social and mainstream media, how to sit with a child on their lap, what to do if a child asks for something intangible for Christmas, and how to stay healthy and hydrated during the holidays. The Santas interact with each other over two BBQ sessions that promote goodwill and an atmosphere of support.

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26-Year-Old Hacker Builds Self-Driving Car That Teaches Itself to Drive Like a Human

While companies like Google, Tesla, and Mercedes are spending millions on research and development of self-driving cars, a 26-year-old hacker from San Francisco believes he might just have nailed the technology all on his own. George Hotz, previously known for his legendary iPhone jailbreaking skills, says he has developed autonomous car technology that actually works. What’s more, the technology only costs a few thousand dollars, and can be implemented on any car in the world.

Hotz, who at age 17 became the first person in the world to unlock an iPhone, also hacked a Sony Playstation 3 a few years later. He’s worked briefly at Google, SpaceX, and Facebook, but after studying artificial intelligence at Carnegie Mellon University, he decided to work on his own self-driving car technology. Once perfected, he plans to sell the system directly to customers through his startup, comma.ai.

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Bet on Your Marriage – Company Pays Couples $10,000 to Get Married, Charges Money Back with Interest if They Get Divorced

A Seattle startup is in the news for investing in divorce – its business model is based on the fact that nearly 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the US end up parting ways. SwanLuv offers to pay couples for their dream wedding, but the money will have to be returned with interest if they ever get divorced.

So if you’re about to get married and you apply to Swanluv, they’ll run your profile through an algorithm, study your relationship, and select you if you meet their criteria. Then, they’ll offer you a loan of up to $10,000. You don’t have to return the money, ever, as long as you stay together. But the moment you decide to get a divorce you’ve got to cough up the original amount, plus interest. And stronger relationships are assigned higher interest rates, so the longer couples stay together, the more they’ll stand to lose if they split.

When you think about it, that’s kind of like the opposite of how insurance works. You’re supposed to get paid when things go wrong, but with SwanLuv, it’s the other way round. 

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The Awe-Inspiring Salt Portraits of Rob Ferrel

A true artist doesn’t really need expensive tools and materials to produce something beautiful, and San Antonio artist Rob Ferrel is the perfect example. For months, he has been treating his Instagram followers with  highly realist portraits that he creates using nothing but salt, a few brushes, and a piece of cardstock.

Ferrel begins by pouring salt on a table and then moves it around with brushes until recognizable features begin to emerge. He also uses cardstock for clean, sharp lines. Once the portrait is ready, he photographs it and posts it to Instagram, and then gathers up all the salt to make his next masterpiece.

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The Country Where People Actually Like Receiving Injections and IV Drips

Cambodia is known for its rich culture and history, natural beauty, exquisite temples like the Angkor Wat, the Vietnam war, the Khmer Rouge, land mines, and more. But not many people are aware of the nation’s quirks and eccentricities – like this one particular obsession that locals have with needles.

While most people in other parts of the world would do anything to avoid getting injected, things are quite the opposite in Cambodia, where citizens have a fascination for injections and intravenous drips. The reason for this fascination is unclear, but it seems that a strong belief in needles has become ingrained in the nation’s psyche. So much so that people want IV drips or injections even in situations where they’re not needed at all.

“It’s not just in the village,” a Western doctor, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the BBC. “Everybody who goes to hospital gets an IV because they think it’s important and the doctors and nurses think it’s important. If you walk into a hospital, pretty close to every patient will have an IV. They’ll just get them, you know, ad infinitum, until they leave the hospital.”

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The Australian Canine Heroes Protecting a Colony of the World’s Smallest Penguins

Middle Island, a picturesque outcrop located off the coast of southern Victoria in Australia, is home to a colony of the world’s smallest penguins. Originally known as fairy penguins, these adorable little birds are no taller than a foot and weigh only about 1kg. There used to be hundreds of them at one point, but their population dwindled as they were hunted by foxes. That is, until a chicken farmer came up with an ingenious solution to use dogs as bodyguards for the penguins.  

The problem was first noticed in the year 2000, when the sea’s natural current led to increased sand-build up, encouraging a growth in the fox population. The island is uninhabited by humans, and separated from the mainland by a 30-meter stretch of water. So at low tide, it’s easy for the foxes to cross from the mainland and reach the island, and hunt the adorable penguins.

Soon, the fairy penguin population started dwindling to the point where they were in danger of being completely wiped out “We went from a point where we had about 800 penguins down to where we could only find four,” said Peter Abbott from the Penguin Preservation Project. “In our biggest bird kill, we found 360 birds killed over about two nights. Foxes are thrill killers. They’ll kill anything they can find. The colony really was on its last legs and just one more fox attack would’ve finished it off.”

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100-Year-Old Abandoned Church Gets Transformed into Awesome-Looking Skate Park

The 100-year-old church of Santa Barbara, in Llanera, the Spanish principality of Asturias, had been abandoned for over half a century,  before a group of skating enthusiasts decided to turn the old place of worship into a unique indoor skate park called Kaos Temple. Today, it is probably the most stunning community skating venue in the world.

The church was originally a private one, designed by Austrian architect Manuel del Busto for a few local businessmen in 1912. But they abandoned the area in the 1930s during the Civil War, and the church remained unused for several decades until it was purchased by a group of individuals called the Church Brigade, in the late 2000s.

After some brainstorming, the group decided that the indoor space was perfect to install a skating ramp in. And that’s exactly what they did, slowly gathering funds and getting help from friends whenever they could. In 2012, ‘Kaos Temple’ opened its doors to skating enthusiasts.

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The World’s Most Expensive Dollhouse Costs a Lot More Than a Real House

Priced at an eye-watering $8.5 million, the Astolat Dollhouse Castle is easily the most expensive dollhouse in the world. The 800 pound, 9 foot tall museum-quality miniature house, with its 29 rooms and a wizard’s tower to boot, was inspired by the fantasy castle ‘Astolat’ that features in Alfred Tennyson’s poem Lady of the Shalott, and built over a period of 13 years, between 1974 and 1987.

Miniature artist Elaine Diehl was primarily in charge of building the Astolat Dollhouse, but she collaborated with many artists all over the world. According to Wikipedia, the “interiors and adjoining areas were each constructed to the highest standards of that time,” while “the exterior took a year to sculpt to the final finish.”

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French Homeless Man Becomes Bestselling Author after Writing Book on Being Homeless

After being homeless for nearly three decades, Jean-Marie Roughol’s life is about to change for the better. The 47-year-old’s memoirs about begging on the streets of Paris has become a national bestseller this holiday season, selling nearly 50,000 copies and earning him cult status.

The 176-page book, titled Je tape la manche: Une vie dans la rue (My Life as a Panhandler: A Life on the Streets), tells Roughol’s story from his rough childhood to winding up on the streets of Paris. He recalls how he was abandoned by his mother and brought up by an alcoholic father, ending up on the streets in his early twenties after losing his job as a waiter.

Roughol started writing the book two years ago, sitting on park benches, making notes in school exercise books. He got help with writing and editing from a long-time friend, former French Minister of Interion, Jean-Louis Debré. The two met many years ago when Roughol offered to look after Debre’s bicycle as he shopped on the Champs-Élysées, a sweet tale that is also included in the book. He compares meeting Debré to winning the lottery.

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Utah Neighborhood Is Using Decoy Packages to Confuse Thieves This Holiday Season

Residents of the Daybreak community, in South Jordan, Utah, have come up with a brilliant strategy to ward off thieves this Christmas. They’ve taken to placing fake Amazon packages filled with junk on their front porches, in order to keep the real stuff safe.

According to realtor Kroger Menzer, Daybreak is a tight-knit community of about 4,000 homes and 15,000 people who all know each other very well well. For the past few years, many of them faced the same problem during the holidays – thieves would steal the packages that were delivered to their front door. So when a resident named Jeff posted the fake-package idea on Facebook, it caught on pretty quickly.

“When Jeff came up with the idea, it spread like wildfire,” Menzer said. “The post spread to Riverton and Herriman. That’s why it’s going to work, because it’s not just a half a dozen homes doing it. It’s a whole community.”  The contents of the decoy packages will vary.  Menzer says some people plan to put in old electronics while others are going with rocks. A few altruistic folks want to throw in some clothes, which might eventually be donated to the needy. And some people want to use the idea to actually catch thieves, so they’re installing tracking devices on the boxes.

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Vitality Air – A Startup Selling Canned Canadian Fresh Air

A couple of Canadian entrepreneurs are capitalising on the lack of fresh, clean air in polluted cities by shipping out some of theirs. They’ve come up with a way to can fresh air from the Canadian Rocky Mountains and are now selling it all over the world under the brand ‘Vitality Air’.

“Essentially, we’re selling air,” said Troy Paquette, one of the co-founders, adding that the idea originated as a joke during a random discussion with his friend Moses Lam. They were discussing pollution when they thought it would be neat if they could just send some of their own fresh air to people who didn’t have any. And then they decided to do just that.

The first prototype was a Ziploc bag filled with Banff air, which sold on eBay for 99 cents. So they made a second bag and started a bidding war, and it went for a whopping $168. Inspired by their success, Paquette, 37, and Lam, 30, created a legitimate business in 2014. They started packaging air from the Rockies in canisters of various sizes, priced between $15 and $46. The $15 can contains about 150 inhalations worth of air.

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Nature’s Photoshop – Venus the Two Face Cat

Meet Venus, a five-year-old tabby who’s become an internet sensation for her strikingly unusual appearance – half of her face is orange while the other is black!

The divide, right down the center of her face, seems too perfect to be true, so much so that you’ll be tempted to dismiss it as fake. It doesn’t help that her eyes are different of different colors as well, one green and the other blue. But on her website, Venus insists that she is 100 percent natural.

“No makeup at all,” she says. “Not even eyeliner. In the salon where I get my pedicures done Photoshop and spray paint aren’t even allowed.” And she also dismisses the idea that she’s a Chimera – a mythical lion-goat-snake creature. “It’s appalling, but hey, I didn’t invent the English language.”

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